February 4, 2009
Building on Progress Central to 2009 Plans

Now that 2009 is upon us, its time for an update on what the Steel Framing Alliance (SFA) has planned for the year. Like many of you, SFA has felt the pressure of the economic downturn.
However, we are committed to wisely using the resources entrusted to us by our members and investors and to aggressively move forward to address some significant issues facing the industry.

There are several high priority areas that will be at the center of SFA’s 2009 efforts:

  1. Removing code barriers that can prevent the use of steel framing or severely limit its competitive standing. Perhaps no other area poses as direct a threat to steel framing as new energy codes and standards being proposed. SFA initiated a program to aggressively address inequalities in energy requirements in early 2008. Working with industry allies, we were able to reduce existing barriers in the national codes and also prevent new negative proposals from being adopted nationally and in key states. SFA will again be poised to represent the steel framing industry in 2009.
  2. Conducting research to address technology challenges. The Steel Stud Manufacturers Association (SSMA), American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), and SFA have joined together to address some major issues in 2009. For example, we will undertake a research project to develop methods for connecting siding materials to steel studs when installed over as much as three inches of foam insulation. Again, this is one of the newer energy code issues that threaten our ability to deliver buildings using steel framing. We plan to have solutions before the code requirements hit main street.
  3. Positioning steel framing as a sustainable material in the general market place and in the many green building standards and programs that exist or are evolving. States and local communities are looking more and more at these voluntary standards and programs for possible adoption as mandatory codes. Further, government agencies at the state and Federal level are already requiring compliance with LEED and other standards for government construction projects. Our objective is to make sure the recycled content, durability, mold-resistance, and other sustainability benefits of steel framing are fairly recognized in these standards. We will also be working with AISI and other industry allies to address the growing interest in Life Cycle Analysis as a way to evaluate the selection of building materials.
  4. Aggressively pursuing the development of a reference standard for construction in areas invaded by Formosan Termites. Builders in Hawaii have led the way in recognizing steel framing as the answer to this threat. As the area infested by Formosan termites grows each year beyond Hawaii and throughout the Gulf Coast states, its now time for a consensus standard to protect buildings from damage.
  5. Promoting the benefits of steel framing in the mid-rise commercial and multi-family markets. Steel framing has a distinct advantage in the four to seven story market. Throughout 2009, SFA will be working diligently to educate engineers, architects, builders and owners on the value of steel framing in these building types.
  6. Expanding insurance industry offerings for steel framed buildings. Many of you are aware that Zurich has been offering significant reductions in builder risk policies. In 2008, SFA began working with several underwriters on a suite of insurance offerings that provide up to 75% reductions on insurance when using steel. In 2009, SFA will work with brokers to expand these offerings throughout North America.

The items above are a sampling of what SFA will address in 2009. They will build on the progress made over the past decade. As you can see, even in a down economy, we are not standing still. We have opportunities to position steel framing favorable when the building industry once again turns upward. We will be ready.

Don’t forget to keep tabs on all of our activities. Look for updates as these and other programs proceed on the SFA Web site at

Mark Nowak, President, Steel Framing Alliance

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Steel Framing Alliance
1201 15th St., NW,
Suite 320
Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone 202.785.2022
Fax 202.785.3856


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Brought to you by the Steel Framing Alliance (SFA) on the first Wednesday of each month, Framework Online arms you with the latest news and commentary on the steel framing and construction industries. In addition to industry headlines, trends and project profiles, Framework Online provides information and ideas that will better enable members to increase their participation in the residential and commercial construction markets.